Some Canadian cities to stop taking refugees

Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto pause refugee resettlement program due to winter conditions.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Canadian flag
Canadian flag

Several major Canadian cities will temporarily stop taking Syrian refugees, the government said Wednesday, after they revealed that they were struggling to find proper accommodation in the dead of winter.

Refugee agencies in Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver and Toronto asked for a pause in resettlements, citing a lack of affordable housing and a shortage of staff.

Immigration Minister John McCallum told reporters in Toronto that he would oblige and have new arrivals diverted to other cities until those feeling overwhelmed sort out their issues.

He acknowledged that "housing is a challenge, but I think we are in the process of meeting that challenge."

"The flow from the airplanes is not slowing down at all," he said, according to AFP. "But if certain towns or cities need a pause, there will be other places in Canada that will receive the refugees.”

"There are many, many places in Canada that are crying out for refugees," McCallum stressed.

As of January 19, Canada has welcomed 11,866 Syrian refugees - with the 10,000th refugee having arrived last week - and another 5,829 have been cleared to travel there.

Ottawa has pledged to take in a total 25,000 by the end of February.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had initially promised to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by December 31 but pushed the target date to February following criticisms the government was moving too fast amid security concerns in the aftermath of deadly attacks in Paris.

A new interim target of taking in 10,000 by December 31 was set, but only 6,000 Syrians travelling from camps in Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey made it onto Canadian soil by year's end.

AFP contributed to this report.